the illusion of gods presence the biological origins of spiritual longing

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The Illusion Of God S Presence

Author : John C. Wathey
ISBN : 9781633880757
Genre : Religion
File Size : 73. 72 MB
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An essential feature of religious experience across many cultures is the intuitive feeling of God's presence. More than any rituals or doctrines, it is this experience that anchors religious faith, yet it has been largely ignored in the scientific literature on religion. Starting with a vivid narrative account of the life-threatening hike that triggered his own mystical experience, biologist John Wathey takes the reader on a scientific journey to find the sources of religious feeling and the illusion of God's presence. His book delves into the biological origins of this compelling feeling, attributing it to innate neural circuitry that evolved to promote the mother-child bond. Dr. Wathey, a veteran neuroscientist, argues that evolution has programmed the infant brain to expect the presence of a loving being who responds to the child's needs. As the infant grows into adulthood, this innate feeling is eventually transferred to the realm of religion, where it is reactivated through the symbols, imagery, and rituals of worship. The author interprets our various conceptions of God in biological terms as illusory supernormal stimuli that fill an emotional and cognitive vacuum left over from infancy. These insights shed new light on some of the most vexing puzzles of religion, like the popular belief in a god who is judgmental and punishing, yet also unconditionally loving; the extraordinary tenacity of faith; the greater religiosity of women relative to men; religious obsessions with sex; the mysterious compulsion to pray; the seemingly irrepressible feminine attributes of God, even in traditionally patriarchal religions; and the strange allure of cults. Finally, Dr. Wathey considers the hypothesis that religion evolved to foster reproductive success, arguing that, in an age of potentially ruinous overpopulation, magical thinking has become a luxury we can no longer afford, one that distracts us from urgent threats to our planet. Deeply researched yet elegantly written in a jargon-free and accessible style, this book presents a compelling interpretation of the evolutionary origins of spirituality and religion.

The Illusion Of God S Presence The Biological Origins Of Spiritual Longing By John C Wathey Amherst Ny Prometheus Books 2016 463 Pp 28 00 Hardcover

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ISBN : OCLC:1051326829
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Practicing Safe Sects

Author : F. LeRon Shults
ISBN : 9789004360952
Genre : Science
File Size : 75. 51 MB
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In Practicing Safe Sects F. LeRon Shults provides scientific and philosophical resources for having “the talk” about religious reproduction: where do gods come from – and what are the costs of bearing them in our culturally pluralistic, ecologically fragile environment?

The Bible Homer And The Search For Meaning In Ancient Myths

Author : John Heath
ISBN : 9780429663741
Genre : History
File Size : 33. 65 MB
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The Bible, Homer, and the Search for Meaning in Ancient Myths explores and compares the most influential sets of divine myths in Western culture: the Homeric pantheon and Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament. Heath argues that not only does the God of the Old Testament bear a striking resemblance to the Olympians, but also that the Homeric system rejected by the Judeo-Christian tradition offers a better model for the human condition. The universe depicted by Homer and populated by his gods is one that creates a unique and powerful responsibility – almost directly counter to that evoked by the Bible—for humans to discover ethical norms, accept death as a necessary human limit, develop compassion to mitigate a tragic existence, appreciate frankly both the glory and dangers of sex, and embrace and respond courageously to an indifferent universe that was clearly not designed for human dominion. Heath builds on recent work in biblical and classical studies to examine the contemporary value of mythical deities. Judeo-Christian theologians over the millennia have tried to explain away Yahweh’s Olympian nature while dismissing the Homeric deities for the same reason Greek philosophers abandoned them: they don’t live up to preconceptions of what a deity should be. In particular, the Homeric gods are disappointingly plural, anthropomorphic, and amoral (at best). But Heath argues that Homer’s polytheistic apparatus challenges us to live meaningfully without any help from the divine. In other words, to live well in Homer’s tragic world – an insight gleaned by Achilles, the hero of the Iliad – one must live as if there were no gods at all. The Bible, Homer, and the Search for Meaning in Ancient Myths should change the conversation academics in classics, biblical studies, theology and philosophy have – especially between disciplines – about the gods of early Greek epic, while reframing on a more popular level the discussion of the role of ancient myth in shaping a thoughtful life.

From Something To Nothing

Author : Daniel Maoz
ISBN : 9781527535039
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 69. 21 MB
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Jewish mysticism approaches God as no-thing or nothing, reflecting Judaism’s traditional identification of God as incorporeal. Whereas technical philosophical language often employed to discuss Jewish mysticism has a tendency to ward off otherwise interested readers, this study sufficiently breaks down the technical language of Jewish mysticism in its various expressions to allow a beginner to benefit from what may otherwise be indescribable and only approached by consideration of what is not rather than what is. Integral to the title, From Something to Nothing, is the concept that God cannot be something, because that would be restricting, so God is simply no-thing. Ironically, the conventional religious expression for the biblical notion of creation is “something from nothing”, whereas the title of this volume is its precise opposite, which may at first seem to be illogical – creation in reverse. However, in a volume dedicated to various deliberations on magic and mysticism, the ultimate reality may receive expression as nothingness, that is, no-thingness, no quality associated with things. What adds to our difficulty today is that nothingness is inextricably linked with silence. Is silence also an element or indication of an ultimate reality or its absence? Or is it merely the reflection of nothing whatsoever? This is at the heart of modern debates between atheists and believers. Believers feel that even this silence speaks to this ultimate reality, whereas atheists claim that if you cannot show it, then you do not know it. In other words, believers are victims of their own wishful thinking. From Something to Nothing memorializes Canadian mystic and scholar Zalman Schachter Shalomi, z”l, engaging in particular aspects that he addressed at some phase of his colourful and erudite life, providing the reader with a broad spectrum of both phenomenological and intellectual topics.

The Names Of God

Author : Herbert Chanan Brichto
ISBN : 019535513X
Genre : Religion
File Size : 28. 30 MB
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This is the sequel to the author's iconoclastic Toward a Grammar of Biblical Poetics (Oxford, 1992), in which Brichto argues for the aesthetic wholeness of the Hebrew Bible, and the consistency of Scripture's preachment on God, nature, and the human condition--in direct opposition to current source criticism, which maintains that inconsistencies within the text support an atomistic reading of multiple authors. In The Names of God, Brichto brings us his "poetic" reading of Scripture to the Book of Genesis. Using contemporary methods and insights of literary criticism, he examines one of the great inconsistencies within Genesis that have led to the supposition of multiple authors--the assortment of terms or names for the Deity, among them Yahweh and Elohim--and attempts to show the appropriateness of certain of these names to the stories in which they appear. He also looks at a variety of other data within Genesis such as genealogies, eponyms, and chronologies, and shows that their poetical function--their variety, ingenuity, and imaginative whimsy--is vital to the structure of the text as a whole. In finding a unity in this diversity of materials, Brichto makes a strong case for the text as the artistic achievement of a single author.

Current Contents Arts And Humanities

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